During the past few weeks, much of the gains for 2014 have evaporated. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down more than 3% since July 25. And while the S&P is still showing a gain for the year so far, the Dow is now in the red for 2014.
As should be no surprise, the biggest impact has been on smaller stocks, which tend to be riskier. Naturally, many IPOs have taken hits, too. But a pullback in a stock often leads to one question: Should investors just stay away, or are they looking at a good buying opportunity thanks to lower prices?
For some of these new stocks, I think we’re seeing the latter. The fact is that there are plenty of innovative companies that are attacking huge market opportunities. In other words, this should be a good time for long-term investors.
So, what are the best new stocks to buy on the dip? Here are four that look interesting:
New Stocks to Buy — Opower (OPWR)
After Market Return: -34%
The utilities industry is under much pressure. For example, regulators are pushing companies to build fewer plants and to use cleaner fuel. But there is also the need to deal with new competitive forces, which means providing better services to consumers.
It’s all pretty tough. But Opower (OPWR) has a cloud-based platform to help out. The system involves the analytics on huge amounts of information to find ways to efficiently reduce energy usage. Opower then allows consumers to make their own choices using a sophisticated web sites and mobile apps.
But there is another key benefit for utilities: They often receive financial incentives for their gains in efficiency. So far, Opower has been getting lots of traction. In the latest quarter, revenues shot up by 50% to $27.6 million, but the company still posted a net loss of $7 million.
It still looks like Opower is in the early stages of its growth. After all, the company believes its addressable market is about $11 billion. So, if the company continues to execute, this could turn out to be a top gainer among new stocks.
New Stocks to Buy — Castlight Health (CSLT)
Aftermarket Return: -70%
Of all the new stocks, this one probably has the biggest market opportunity — the healthcare industry. No doubt, there is much room for improvement, especially with the use of innovative technologies.
As for Castlight Health (CSLT), the focus is on using a cloud-based platform to help companies reduce their healthcare costs. Yes, this means leveraging Big Data, such as by analyzing information from insurance companies, government agencies and other organizations. With this, Castlight develops highly tailored health plans.
In terms of revenues, Castlight is still a tiny operator, but growth remains torrid. In the second quarter, revenues soared by 353% to $10.5 million. The company has also been adept at snagging large customers, such as Google (GOOG), Sprint (S) and Kellogg (K).
Now it’s true that the valuation is hefty, with Castlight trading at nosebleed 38 times revenues. But when factoring in the hefty growth rate, customer adoption and the massive market opportunity, the multiple doesn’t seem too outlandish.
New Stocks to Buy — Care.com (CRCM)
Aftermarket Return: -63%
While Castlight is a bit pricey, Care.com (CRCM) looks almost too cheap. The company is trading at only about 2.9 times revenues.
Yet Care.com offers lots of potential to investors looking for compelling new stocks to buy. The company operates the largest marketplace for helping people find and manage needs like child care, senior care and special needs care. But the company has also expanded into areas like pet care, tutoring and housekeeping. In all, the Care.com platform has 6.4 million families and 5.4 million caregivers.
Growth has been solid. In the second quarter, revenues rose by 35% to $25.8 million. And the growth ramp may still see a boost. First of all, Care.com has introduced a payments business for families. This provides more convenience and also handles the complexities of tax preparation.
Care.com also should benefit from its recent acquisition of Citrus Lane, which is a social commerce platform for moms. The service has 45,000 monthly paying subscribers and revenues hit $6 million in 2013, up 300% on a year-over-year basis. Then there’s Care.com’s new mobile app, called Big Tent. The focus is on providing content that users can engage with on a daily basis, which should help with customer loyalty.
All in all, these efforts look spot-on. More importantly, they should be key on capitalizing on the huge demographic trends in the U.S., where there will be growing demand for caregiving services because of the aging of the population.
New Stocks to Buy – Paycom Software (PAYC)
Aftermarket Return: -10%
For the new stocks mentioned above, they all have cool offerings. But sometimes “boring” can be good, too.
That’s where Paycom Software (PAYC) comes in. The company is in the numbingly complex business of human resources management, helping companies with talent acquisition, time management and payroll. The company offers cloud-based solutions for those needs.
There’s nothing boring about the company’s financial results, though. In the latest quarter, revenues increased by 39.3% to $33.3 million. There was also positive adjusted EBITDA of $6.1 million, up from $4.4 million in the same period a year ago.
For the most part, Paycom serves small- and medium-size businesses (with a customer base of more than 10,000), which tends to be underserved and even neglected. But these types of operators are certainly looking at cloud solutions, which are generally cheaper and more effective. To accelerate things, Paycom has invested aggressively in its sales organization and customer support.
The valuation is also reasonable. Consider that the price-to-sales ratio is about 6X, which compares to 28X for Workday (WDAY), which is another top player in the HR space.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. He is also the author of High-Profit IPO Strategies, All About Commodities and All About Short Selling. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.